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View Diary: US already has high elder poverty rate, so why are Social Security cuts even on the table? (223 comments)

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  •  Look (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arlys, Catte Nappe

    1.  I am not advocating social security cuts.

    2. But, context please.

    The US Census declared that in 2010 15.1% of the general population lived in poverty:
    22% of all people under age 18
    13.7% of all people 19–64, and
    9% of all people ages 65 and older
    Social Security was part of a system that helped move the elderly in American from the poorest age demographic to the richest.  

    The $10s of billions of a Koch / Buffett / Soros do not, of course, make up for that 9 percent (or 15% or whichever figure we wish to focus on) who are in desperate economic situations.

    3.  The real issue is, of course, that we should be focused on investment in our future (infrastructure -- physical and human capital, climate mitigation + adaptation, ...) and strengthening our ability to be reducing those poverty figures -- at all age groups.

    4.  Might, amid all things, could some minor shifts in Social Security make some sense. Could it make sense to change the Social Security 50% non-taxed for incomes above a certain level?  Perhaps starting to eliminate the tax-free status when one hits 3x the poverty level???  Just as the military should differentiate between combat/office work (think those who spent 1/2 the past decade in Iraq/Afghanistan vs band members who never left the US) for retirement, is there a path for differentiating manual/hard blue collar work from desk jobs for Social Security retirement credit? (E.g., those in 'the Village' advocating increasing retirement age are intellectual workers who likely will keep earning income into their 70s and have no idea what it is like to be stocking shelves in a store or digging a trench in 95 degree weather or ...)  But, at the end of the day, these are marginal shifts when the real shift should be toward a rational balance of our tax structure with investments that will foster an economy that will support our society's costs 'of doing business'.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:25:02 AM PST

    •  The alleged (but obviously bogus) reason (6+ / 0-)

      being given to justify cutting SS and other entitlement programs is that we can't afford them due to shrinking revenue and growing spending with the trendlines going in the wrong directions.

      When in reality, to the extent that entitlement spending is going up (and it is), it's due to a combination of the boomers starting to retire (which has been expected for decades), poor cost-containment in Medicare (e.g. Medicare D and Advantage), and more people on Medicaid due to the recession. And to the extent that revenue is down, it's due to the recession, too-low tax rates on the upper end, and wasteful "tax expenditures".

      Plus the wars, and a massive increase in defense spending.

      ALL of which can be dealt with effectively through smarter and fairer policies that make taxation more progressive and effective (without hurting the economy or people a bit), spending more efficient (ditto), and the economy more robust (obviously ditto), and NONE of which requires cutting benefits to anyone who needs them, like seniors, the poor, vets and the disabled.

      It's a false policy and political economy to cut any such benefits, and complete misdirection from the real causes of the deficit.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:16:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No you can't distinguish jobs for people over 65 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, Mr Robert

      Do you think it's easy for someone with arthritis and failing eye sight to sit at a desk iin a fixed position for 40+ hours a week?  Sure, if you are self-employed or have the professional freedom to design your own work environment that might be terrific but many desk jobs have become like factory jobs.  Many desk jobs aren't desk jobs at all anyway.  You'd have to evaluate every single job and regulate every single employer to do it.   It would be a full employment program for attorneys.  It's hard enough for people to dispute disability with Social Security already.   And it would pit one group of seniors against the other.

      •  Note (0+ / 0-)

        that I asked as question not created as assertion:

        is there a path for differentiating manual/hard blue collar work from desk jobs for Social Security retirement credit?
        It might be possible or impossible to execute ... real point, however, was that Social Security "reform" (at most) merits occurring on margins while real focus should be on equitable revenue.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:18:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Reread what I said about the Supplemental Poverty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midwesterner

      Measure. The biggest impact of things it considers, like out of pocket medical expenses, falls on those over 65. So much so that while the country's SPM only goes up 1.2 percentage points, for seniors it goes up by 7.2 percentage points (8.9 to 16.1). This implies that the younger groups see even less than a 1.2 percentage point increase, so seniors leapfrog those 19-64 by a substantial amount. Our child poverty rate, of course, remains scandalous.

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